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‘How media partnership can expand advertising landscape post COVID-19’

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Though the novel coronavirus is disrupting many areas of the digital industry, including advertising spend, many have argued that partnership would be the only way to survival. MARGARET MWANTOK takes a look at the issue.

When The Guardian caught up with Guillaume Coffin, Vice President, Head of Commercial and Business Development Turner France, Africa & Israel, WarnerMedia, Julius Osumah, Managing Partner – Operations and Afolabi Akanji, Managing Partner – Sales of Trending Media Africa who spoke about the recent partnership between the two companies.

For Coffin, “This is undoubtedly a challenging time for any new business activities; however, we have seen ratings, watch time and viewer engagement through social media skyrocketing.”

Recently, WarnerMedia announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Trending Media Africa (TMA) to further diversify its business streams. The deal will also allow for TMA’s client’s access to advertising solutions on WarnerMedia’s movie channel, TNT, as well as kids’ channels, Cartoon Network and Boomerang.

Julius Osumah, Managing Partner – Operations, Trending Media Africa, said: “Nigeria’s poor economy, especially poor purchasing power by the majority of Nigerian masses is our biggest challenge because if companies do not sell their products, they are very likely to cut down on advertising spend, which will, in turn, affect the ad agencies. Furthermore, there is the problem of a lack of adequate professional practitioners. However, the establishment of the Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (APCON) as a regulatory body is tackling this problem head-on.”

He said the benefits from this partnership in the next five to 10 years would surely “fuel our growth engine to acquire new clients, increase our revenue and expand geographic reach, to say the least.

While assessing Nigeria’s adoption of high-quality advertising solutions, Coffin noted that the Nigerian advertising market is highly competitive and growing. Brands are looking to raise their voice and stand out from the competition while ensuring key target markets are reached and engaged.

Looking at his organisation’s target audience in Nigeria and why, the head of commercial and business development, Africa, France, French-speaking countries and Israel noted that the wide portfolio WarnerMedia has to offer allows the targeting of a wide and interesting segmentation for TMA clients from families to kids, young adults and adults.

To him, WarnerMedia channel portfolio offers a wide range of content and high-quality production standards that offer advertisers possibilities to connect in a relevant way with their consumers. “At WarnerMedia, innovation and agility are part of our core values, so we are keen to hear and listen to our Nigerian advertisers’ needs to offer and package differentiated advertising solutions through the expertise of TMA,” he offered.

Osumah said the Nigerian market is drawn to quality advertising solutions, which would help achieve all planned goals and objectives. “Total acceptance and seamless adaptation are possible with this partnership; the market is competitive, volatile, and open; so the focus is key to the accurate implementation of channel ideas for useable results.”

Looking at what the two firms stand to gain with the partnership, Coffin said, “Warner Media has been present in Africa for more than 20 years, operating six channels across the continent. The partnership is meant to further diversify and allow TMA clients to access advertising solutions on the Nigerian WarnerMedia channels, including our kids’ channels, Cartoon Network and Boomerang, and our American blockbuster channel, TNT.”

Coffin added, “this partnership would enable Nigerian brands and businesses to reach their consumer clients and secure revenue growth, ultimately adding to the Nigerian economy.”

According to him, his organisation is also open to potential bespoke local projects with local talents through sponsorship solutions, to connect even further with local viewers.

“In other parts of Africa, we have an active presence on the ground through consumer activations, local partnerships, local productions and CSR initiatives. We are planning to run similar activities in Nigeria and build strong brand experiences with our local consumers,” he said.

For Osumah, “apart from paying our taxes, increase in employment opportunities, and Corporate Social Responsibility, there will be skill and time optimisation from anyone that works directly with us, which will involve coaching and training contributing to the development of Nigeria. We also know that our clients and partner agencies will leverage world-class advertising solutions and platforms, great advertising opportunities, wider coverage target audience, and much more channel support.”

The managing partner, operations, said, “this partnership expands the advertising landscape of the Nigerian market, and it brings world-class advertising opportunities and a broader reach to our target audience, clients and agencies.”

Corroborating his opinion, managing partner (Sales) Afolabi Akanji said, “it would help to establish us as experts in our market and, in turn, will build trust with the media industry and audience alike, persuading them to make media investments and associate their brands through TMA. The partnership will benefit the Media Industry as WarnerMedia is now being represented by a professionally trusted company such as TMA.”

Warner Media’s brands target 4 to 8-year-olds (Boomerang), 7-14-year-olds (Cartoon Network) and PG ratings to 16 and overs, as well as the whole family for the TNT brand. “So, in essence, we will be targeting children, mothers, caregivers, decision-makers in the home, lovers of fun, cartoon lovers and American blockbuster lovers,” Akanji retorted.

How sure is he of a marketing success here given that his organisation’s entry is happening at a period of economic and social stress?

Coffin had this to say: “This is undoubtedly a challenging time for any new business activities; however, we have seen ratings watch time and viewer engagement through social media skyrocketing.”

Kids and parents are at home, and one of the primary sources of entertainment is more than ever, TV and media in general. Coffin said, “this context creates opportunities for advertisers to build and connect their brands with their public. However, we are very much aware that all advertisers are under financial pressure during this period. Still we are very much prepared to adapt our packages during this exceptional period.”

With increased migration to digital channels and then Netflix, Coffin is sure of success. He revealed that his organisation is adapting its business strategy to the current media consumption patterns, meeting fans where they could enjoy the content provided.

He stressed, “even though we develop new distribution strategies with on-demand services and streaming platforms, we know linear TV consumption is still the best advertising solution to drive sales in Africa. Being available on DStv and GOtv, we guarantee our advertisers to reach a representative sample of the Nigerian population.”

Interjecting, Osumah admitted that WarnerMedia has excellent content that has been in existence for a long time. This content is available world-wide with millions of viewers that have, over time, trusted the value they are getting and will continue to enjoy new content offered and some classic remixes.

Most often adults don’t watch cartoons in Nigeria. So, there is a reliance on pester power, which some say are overrated. How is his organisation going to navigate this?

Coffin noted: “We conducted a survey with IPSOS this year, which has demonstrated that a large portion of our viewers for the kids’ channels, Cartoon Network and Boomerang, are, in fact, adults and young adults. This indicates that cartoons are an inclusive genre in Africa. Considering the large youth population in Nigeria, and their appetite for storytelling and humour, we believe Cartoon Network and Boomerang are destinations that target many, and that families enjoy watching together.”

In a situation where viewership pattern of the consumers has proven to be different due to the content of these channels, Akanji reasoned that in a situation where there are adults that watched the majority of the kids’ content while growing up, “they would want to relive their memories by watching the classic remixes, all the while sharing these great experiences with their children.”

What are some of the programmes/channels that clients will have access to through the new partnership?

Coffin said, “on our kids’ channels, we have exclusive and beloved original content coming from the best animation studios around the globe, such as Cartoon Network Studios and Warner Bros Animation Studios, to name a few. This allows us to offer viewers fan favourites, and brand-new content such as Ben 10, Supa Stikas, Dragon Ball Super, the Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, and Zig and Sharko. On TNT, we offer the best American blockbusters in different genres: from romance to pulse-raising movies as well as horror and comedy. In July, we will launch our first TNT original movies, exclusive content never seen before in Africa, with exciting casts such as Daniel Radcliff, Emma Roberts and Billy Cristal.”

In the next five to 10 years, what benefits do you see this partnership yielding to your organisations and the clients you serve?

On the measures put in place to drive the sustainability of the partnership?

Coffin said: “We are looking forward to regular discussions with TMA on how to best serve their clients and how to build relevant solutions, ensuring that the satisfaction rate and impact is maintained and upheld.”

Akanji said, “as a company, we have come together to set ambitious goals that will propel us to contributing more than money, and as you know, we are young and passionate which is key. We’ve also added more dedicated hands that understand the purpose of our partnership and can achieve amazing results.”


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